tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 12, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
women's rights taking a back seat. there's so much at stake, let's not get sidetracked by body language. let the focus be where it needs to be on what the ryan/ryan/romney policies would be. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the biden offensive. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews back in washington. let me start tonight with the strange bedfellows of the abortion debate. we just got a good look at this pair. mitt romney says he's pro-life but doesn't intend to do anything that's pro-life. ryan says he's pro-life and
means it. he and his cohorts would proceed to ban it in every sate they could closing abortion rights down into as few states as possible. in this way they would make the banning of abortion a matter of geography. the more states they could get to pass a ban, the further a woman would have to travel to have one. presumably abortion would be safe and legal in coastal states like new york and california. live in the middle, however, and you'd have to leave not just your town and state but maybe the entire region to get to a state where your decision would be respected. this is ryan's plan for american women. but he doesn't stop there. he's also a co-sponsor of the personhood bill that would declare a fertilized human egg a person with all the 14th amendment requirements of life, liberty, and property as well. it would not just outlaw abortion, it would make it murder. joining me to absorb those facts are alex wagner and ron reagan, author and radio talk show host from seattle.
i have to start with a woman, makes sense, doesn't it, alex? >> it does. >> it does make sense. there weren't any women arguing this last night, of course, but it does seem to me strange that here we are in the second debate, at the very end when martha raddatz to her credit brought up these philosophical questions and finally out of nowhere like a jack-in-the-box you begin to hear the real thinking, the real planning, the real philosophy, the future perhaps, if he gets elected vice president, of paul ryan. what did you make of the fact we got this at the tail end of an hour and a half debate? >> i will say i thought martha raddatz did -- overall she was a tough, good moderator, but i thought it was a failure on her part to not bring up more of the women's freedoms issues. mitt romney and paul ryan have very, very extreme positions on women's reproductive rights, and to sort of book end or to just end -- give it like five to ten minutes in what is the only vice presidential debate i think was really shortchanging the issue. that said, if paul -- sorry, if joe biden drew blood last night,
i thought it was on this issue in particular. this is not an issue of contraception coverage. these aren't nuanced positions on, you know, the catholic church and reproduction. this is fundamentally the question of whether women have the right to choose, and paul ryan could not answer the question, and to many, many women from both sides of the aisle, this is something that you vote on. i mean, this is not a subtle sort of tax policy nuance. this is about having the choice to have an abortion and the dialogue that goes on between a woman and her doctor. and it was clear that the romney/ryan ticket is in a place that the obama/biden ticket is not. >> well, you made a point that i like to make. we can argue about a lot of issues, as i said. there were a lot of issues debated last night like benghazi, which are vitally important but not exactly a voting issue. a voting issue is an issue like gun rights to some people who are hunters or sportsmen. they will vote on that issue alone. many women are watching very carefully what these male politicians are saying about
their rights, and that's how they vote sometimes. >> well, indeed, and as well they should. it's tempting to say that, well, paul ryan might be the extremist here, mitt romney, he's the reasonable guy and he's at the head of the ticket. that's exactly what paul ryan is saying now. well, it's romney's ticket so -- >> depends which day of the week. >> yeah, exactly. but actually mitt romney is not so moderate himself. if you look back at his record, which is really one long series of equivocations and calibrations on the subject of abortion, you realize that he doesn't really have any strong personal feelings himself or doesn't seem to. when he was running for the senate in massachusetts, for instance, he was told by his pollster that basically you have to be pro-choice or you can't win in massachusetts. so he effectively became pro-choice. as he gets ready to run for president when he's been governor of massachusetts, now he needs to be anti-choice, and so that's what he becomes. while he's governor of massachusetts though and
preparing to run for governor, he actually vetoed an emergency contraception bill. in other words, a woman comes in and says i've been raped or maybe my contraceptive device didn't work and i'm afraid i might become pregnant, i need something to prevent a pregnancy, no, mitt romney doesn't think women should have that available to them, and paul ryan, of course, doesn't think they should be able to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest either. >> i want to show some tape. let me ask you this. we have had people flip-flop, but he flips within hours. this week he said i'm not going to go do anything. i'm going back to mitt romney here. he's out there saying, i'm not going to do anything on abortion rights, and then andrea saul immediately corrected it and said, oh, yes, he is. she called "the national review" to make the point. so what is the policy? what the assistant says afterwards or what he says when most people are watching? it's one of those 47% things. the bigger the audience, the less likely he is to tell you the truth.
>> i mean, we have likened mitt romney's positions to a carousel. one day it's that color horse, the next day another color horse it just spins round and round. to be honest, chris, grover norquist has said we just need someone sitting in the executive office that has functioning digits to sign on the dotted line. i don't think anybody knows what mitt romney thinks about whether a woman should have the right to choose. what i think is he's governed by the loudest, strongest voices in his own party. he makes fear-based decisions in that sense, and given that, and given the extremes to which the republican party has come on every issue concerning women and their bodies, whether that's planned parenthood funding, shutting down the last remaining abortion clinic in certain parts of the country, or the basic right of a woman to choose, they have shanghaied this party on the fringes of the right. >> and he has yet to show any strength at any point in this campaign of standing up to the right when they put pressure on him.
on the issue of abortion, the differences between the two tickets could not have been clearer or the stakes more evident. here is paul ryan on why he opposes a woman's right to choose. let's listen to the man himself. >> i believe that life begins at conception. that's why those are the reasons why i'm pro-life. now, i understand this is a difficult issue, and i respect people who don't agree with me on this, but the policy of a romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. >> outlaw abortion. the vice president himself, biden, joe biden, laid out his position and how he squares it with his catholic faith. let's listen to this. >> with regard to abortion, i accept my church's position on abortion. life begins at conception, that's the church's judgment. i accept it in my personal life,
but i refuse to impose it on equally devout christians and muslims and jews and i just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. i do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women that they can't control their body. it's a decision between them and their doctor in my view and the supreme court, i'm not going to interfere with that. >> let's get to the extreme ideology here. he subscribes to and he's a a co-sponsor, paul ryan, along with todd akin from missouri who is fighting it out with claire mccaskill who made his notorious statements about so-called legitimate rape. >> the great scientist todd akin. >> with his theories. look at this thing. he basically supports and co-sponsors a bill that would provide the human life shall be
deemed to begin with fertilization. it's basically a personhood amendment. you become a person at the split second of fertilization after the act of procreation, after sex. you are a person right there basically. he goes on in the gop platform, which if you think it doesn't matter, human life amendment to the constitution. they're supporting it. and they support legislation to make clear that the 14th amendment protections apply to unborn children. there you have exactly the opposite of what mitt romney said this week when he was interviewed when he said there's not going to be any legislation coming. here is legislation to give 14th amendment protections that we all have to unborn children. this is something they keep sneaking in. they keep putting in co-sponsored bills.
they put in their platform, and it's like if they get in power and they do it, they can always say to people who voted, well, look, we told you. you just weren't looking at the fine print. you were listening to the speeches when we were in a big room. you should have paid attention to the whole thing. i'm being blunt. i wish they'd be blunt, but they don't want to be blunt. >> well, they're blunt sometimes, blunt among themselves, but this is exactly how radical this is. think about what that would mean. a fertilized egg is a human being with all the rights that a human being has. in other words, if a woman was pregnant, say a month pregnant, and decided she wanted to run a marathon and as a result had a miscarriage, she could be charged with negligent homicide under this law. certain kinds of contraception
would be illegal under this law. women who had abortion would be murderers under this law. that is the sort of thinking that animates paul ryan. >> well, the other reason, and this is something i know they never thought of and i'm kidding because it's so unreal, if you're here without papers, you're an illegal immigrant and you're in the country and you get pregnant. that pregnancy is a person under the 14th amendment and certainly can't be taken out of the country. they're a citizen of the united states. you can't leave. so if you don't want to get thrown out of the country, get pregnant. auto they can't even move you without violating the 14th amendment rights of life, liberty, and property of the fertilized egg. this is how unthinking i think they are within their own prejudicial map they try to figure out. >> massive hypocrisy and
short-term thinking has characterizing almost all of the thinking around women and their bodies. all of this stuff, whether it's defunding planned parenthood or the personhood amendment or the mandatory ultrasounds, this is all parted of a calculated effort on the part of the republican party to shame and intimidate women in what is an incredibly difficult, horrible decision. no one makes this choice out of joy. no one comes out of the doctor's office happy about this. what they have done is systematically denigrate women and their ability to know what's best for them and their families. it's an economic decision, it's a moral decision, it's a religious decision, and i think the republican party has been shameful in the way they have talked about this and legislated around it. >> let's go to a real life case. the great debate focus group had a woman who hits the democratic bull's-eye in terms of voters concerned about this. she's a white female, age 46, mother of teenagers. a retired high school teacher and undecided. here is how the abortion issue is concerning to her. this is very human here. >> if you go with ryan, what he
believes is, you know, life begins at conception and that's what roman catholics are supposed to believe, but i'm a woman, and i want to have the right to do what i want with my body. so it's a little bit of a conflict. >> it's a big conflict. you're still undecided, but overall did that discussion help you make up your mind? >> it did when i found out how close in the supreme court it is to overturning roe v. wade. >> which way are you leaning? >> i think i'm leaning towards obama. >> you know, ron reagan and then alex, real quickly, we have supreme court openings perhaps in the next presidency. it's just a matter of mortality. there are older members of the court, about four of them now in their mid-70s, some in bad health. there's a good chance the next president will make a couple appointments, maybe even three or four. and so the issue of roe v. wade is not settled in this country. it's a bit fragile at this point. >> and the republicans take -- the republican ticket takes a states rights position on this which allows them to have their cake and eat it, too. let's not forget, the anti-choice people, they don't really want this issue to go away entirely. yes, they'd like to repeal roe v. wade and declare victory there, but they'd love it if california and new york still had abortion legal because then they could continue the fight. they could plant their victory
flag and still raise money to overturn abortion in california and a few other states. >> maybe too close to you. alex, your thoughts about the court appointments because that's something when people go to vote in a couple weeks, that's an active thing to think about. >> it's been one of the most under discussed things. the fact the next president will be appointing justices to the supreme court in a season when the supreme court is handing down landmark legislation. the ramifications of romney's choices on the bench versus obama's will last for a lifetime. >> solid thinking again from alex wagner and ron reagan. coming up, all about joe. if his goal was to fire up the base, he sure did it. did he move the numbers? also, if you think last night was in your face, check out this debate. i guess you can call it that out in southern california just last night. >> you're wrong.
you're wrong. you're a liar. >> howard, do you want to get into my face? >> this happens usually in south korea or one of those countries. can you believe it? and those guys are both democrats. it's getting nasty out there. we'll go to the videotape on that one. take a look at this. that's tea party and birther congressman steve king with writing on his hands during a recent debate. if you believe his staff, of course, those weren't debate crib notes. he just hadn't washed his hands. from what? an earlier cribbing? this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] there are only so many foods that make kids happy. and even fewer that make moms happy too. with wholesome noodles and bite sized chicken, nothing brings you together like chicken noodle soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. a great clean doesn't have to take longer. i'm done. i'm gonna read one of these.
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president obama's $716 billion of medicare savings is a cut. actually it's the same savings that ryan has in his own exact plan. >> now, aarp endorsed it, do you really think they'd be out in the business of wrecking medicare? do you think all the old geezers like me would still pay their aarp dues if they thought the aarp was wrecking medicare? i mean, come on, give me a break here. but he's got to stand up there with a straight face and say all that stuff. >> some geezer. nobody breaks it down better than big bill. we'll be right back. who has 11 major brands to choose from? your ford dealer. who's offering a rebate? your ford dealer. who has the low price tire guarantee... affording peace of mind to anyone who might be in the market for a new set of tires? your ford dealer. i'm beginning to sense a pattern. buy four select tires, get a $60 rebate. use the ford service credit credit card, get $60 more. that's up to $120. where did you get that sweater vest? your ford dealer.
were more down on america across the board. we're told everything is going badly. 5.2 million new jobs, private sector jobs. stop talking about how you care about people. show me something. show me a policy. they talk about this great recession as if it fell out of the sky, like oh, my goodness, where did it come from? it came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card. these guys haven't been big on medicare from the beginning. look, folks, use your common sense. who do you trust on this? a man who introduced a bill that would raise it $6,400 a year knowing it and passing it and romney saying he'd sign it or me and the president? >> well, the democratic base if you want to call it that, it means the left i suppose, needed a boost around the vice president certainly delivered it last night with his passionate performance that wouldn't quit for an hour and a half, but firing up the base was only part of the goal. president obama takes the stage against mitt romney again next
tuesday. he's going to have to bring more to the debate than just a little bit of excitement. certainly his problem out in colorado may continue again in a second debate. anyway, chris cillizza is managing editor of post politics.com and a good student of politics. and joe klein is a veteran like me, a columnist for "time" magazine. joe was active, exciting, overexcited perhaps, laughed a lot, perhaps laughed to ridicule and maybe the ridicule was appropriate. putting it all together, do you agree with me he won? >> oh, yeah, i think he won. i think he gave the other side some talking points with all of his smirking and laughing and so on, although i imagine if you're in the reality-based world it's kind of tough to just sit there and pout while the guy is, you know -- >> well said. >> -- putting whoppers. >> what are you supposed to do in this crazy split screen world? what are you supposed to do with your face when the guy three feet from you you think is dead wrong? are you supposed to look down like the president did? or do you look up with a jolly
face? >> or seriously take notes and shake your head in a disparaging way, but it should be smaller whatever it is than what joe was doing. joe was doing last night. although as he would say, god bless him, i love the guy. >> let me ask you, chris, their view of this. we were talking before, if you know joe biden, you discount the overlarge personality responses, it's very east coast, very big. there's no subtlety. >> it's all heart if you like him. >> if you didn't know him before, wouldn't you be thinking what is the guy laughing at? >> yes is the answer to your question. you know, barack obama was asked what should joe biden do, he said, well, joe just needs to be joe. well, joe was definitely joe. >> that's what his son said on the show last night. >> he did what barack obama said he should do. i think that broadly you're exactly right, chris, which is the democratic base wanted this.
they like that joe biden. they don't care that, oh, well, he was disparaging. they don't care about any of that stuff related to paul ryan. they like the laughing and smiling. the republican base doesn't like joe biden going in. they're not going to like joe biden going out. it doesn't change the race in any way, shape, or form. i don't want to sound too cynical, my guess is most people who remain undecided at this point probably were watching some combination of orioles/yankees, nfl, something else. >> we'll see. here is what john dickerson wrote today about the vice president performance. biden was defending the middle class while ryan was defending romney. biden's greatest asset was his, though he might have been over the top. . it was possible for a viewer to conclude that he was simply passionate about the middle class. take a look at joe biden early in the debate going after romney on his 47% comments. >> but it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47% of the american people are unwilling to take responsibility
for their own lives. my friend recently in a speech in washington said 30% of the american people are takers. these people are my mom and dad, the people i grew up with, my neighbors. they may more effective tax than governor romney pays in his federal incomes tax. i have had it up to here with this notion that 47% -- it's about time they take some responsibility here, and instead of signing pledges to grover norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we're going to level the playing field. >> joe klein, that's a winning riff from my account. the way he pronounced grover norquist is the way i pronounce with a "d" in it, it's like complete disdain for -- >> i think he won the debate at that moment. you know what distinguished that from almost everything else we see in these debates? it was real. that wasn't political talk. that wasn't focus group talk. that wasn't consultant talk. that was just joe. >> okay. there are a number of moments in the debate when paul ryan seemed to be playing defense against biden's attacks. here were the two candidates
squaring off on the romney tax plan which remains impossible to defend in terms of mathematics. he'll never tell us which one he's going to get rid of. let's watch. >> you can cut tax rates by 20% and still preserve these important preferences for middle class taxpayers -- >> not mathematically possible. >> it is mathematically possible. it's been done before. it's precisely what we're proposing. >> it has never been done before. >> it's been done a couple times. >> it has never -- >> jack kennedy lower tax rates -- >> oh, now you're jack kennedy. >> ronald reagan. >> that's what you saul synapses. now you're jack kennedy. >> the things that's so hard to analyze this debate, you could not watch the whole debate, you
could start at the first minute and say what do you think about joe biden? and if people said, i kind of like him, then you like the debate and you thought biden won. if you said -- >> by the way, that's been said about joe biden since 1972. you either like him or you don't. >> he's joe biden. to joe's point, he's unapologetic about his joe bidenness, and i think when he embodies being that, that economic populist streak and the stuff at the end that you played earlier, chris, with abortion when he talks from that sort of i'm an irish catholic, i know who the people are, that's when he's at his best. i would say some of the laughing and the derisiveness, particularly on foreign policy, i thought was a little bit off putting and a little over the top. >> i think that's right. i think it was well-said by both. you. joe klein, chris cillizza. tea partier and birther steve king showed up for a recent debate with some writing on his hands. his staff said he wasn't actually cheating. he just hadn't washed his hands. my question is from a previous cribbing effort? why does he have handwriting on his hand. you're supposed to use your hand to write, not write on.
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today, our commitment to the gulf, and to america, has never been stronger. back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." notes, what notes? that's what gop congressman steve king's aides are saying after a debate earlier this week. why? keep a close eye on the iowa congressman's hands in this clip from the no notes allowed debate. >> i write bills, i introduce bills, i turn them into amendments and i succeed in getting those amendments passed.
in fact, by a measurement of congressmen jeff flake -- >> well, pause, no mistaking it, he's got writing on his hands. there it is. his spokesman's response, something pretty close to he didn't use enough soap, quote. the congressman's got a habit of writing things on his hand. he does it when he's on the house floor, he does it when he's campaigning. he does it when he's with constituents. if he doesn't wash his hands good enough, he probably has notes from yesterday. one look at that and you can't help but recall this. >> you got to start reigning in the spending, jump start the energy products we've heard so much about. >> the former candidate for vice president there consulting some notes on her hand. next, how concerned are you about voter fraud on election day? how concerned are you? well, according to judicial watch, a conservative group that favors laws requiring official forms of i.d. at the polls, the fact that people are worried in itself about voter fraud is
reason in itself to pass them. despite a lack of evidence that widespread voter fraud is actually occurring. at a panel discussion yesterday, the president of that group said, quote, voters who feel their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised. it's ott only important that the elections be full, free, fair, and clean, but that they appear to be free, fair, and clean because if you don't have evidence -- confidence in the election system, people are not going to vote. only panelist added it's not okay for us to feel that -- it's not okay for us to feel that our elections are insecure. translation, we need voter i.d. laws to keep people from doing what they're not doing already so nobody thinking they're doing it. got that? >> also, present at the meeting was daryl metcalfe who said recently it's not his fault that they don't have i.d. cards because they're too lazy to go out and get them. luckily, the court has ruled in pennsylvania you don't have to have a photo i.d. card this year, thank god. one thing is clear, biden wanted to show that the facts
were on his side of the ticket. >> the last thing america needs is to get in another ground war in the middle east. they are the facts. the fact is that we're in a situation where we inherited a god awful circumstance. the president and i are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled, they, in fact, have a clear shot. they are elderly people who, in fact, are living off social security. wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us. governor romney before he knew the facts. as they learn more facts. the facts matter. take a look at the facts. in fact, if in fact, facts, fact, fact, facts matter. facts matter. fact. >> it's amazing when you put it all together. 28 mentions of the word fact from the vice president. another bidenism got the brunt of the buzz though.
let's watch. >> with all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey. >> and why is that so? >> because not a single thing he said is accurate. >> only put malarkey to use three times however, but it stale came in third on the list of google's top rising search terms during the debate. i thought malarkey was on old word. up next, last night's vice presidential debate had nothing on this showdown in california. >> you're a liar. >> do you want to get into this? >> do you like the police officer coming between them? a lot of races out there getting nasty, and they're all coming ahead here in a minute. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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abductor. 185 people are sick across 12 states. 14 have died. and the european union was awarded the nobel peace prize in a region long plagued by war. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." we saw a hot debate of course last night between joe biden and paul ryan, but that was tame compared to some of the fights these days, literal and verbal, going on in the races around the country. with 25 days remaining, candidates are digging up dirt and taking on their opponents in the face and on the airwaves. let's start with this one.
let's start with that congressional race in california's 30th district down in l.a. which because of redistricting and a new california law has two long-time democratic congressmen, brad sherman and howard berman facing off against each other literally. in a debate last night, things got physical. >> the reality he knows exact -- see he's either delusional or he. >> no, no, no, no. >> no, no, howard. luis garcia introduced the bill. you didn't. >> you're wrong. you're wrong. >> and the official records of congress will prove you wrong. don't you dare stand up here in the west san fernando valley -- get away from me. >> you're wrong. >> howard, you want to get into
this? you want to put your face into this? >> you know how people always say how they don't like politics getting down and dirty. it looks like that crowd thoroughly enjoyed that carnival atmosphere because they didn't actually punch each other. it was all sort of -- what do you see make of it. why are these guys head to head? >> well, this is a member versus member contest. as you mentioned, redistricting put these guys into the same l.a. area district and to give you a little history, these are two members of congress who already didn't like each other very much, and they're two democrats fighting for the same district, fighting for the same donors and a lot of the same voters in that area. it's one of the nastiest fights we have on our radar this cycle. >> it's all done by direct mail, letters written to real people with addresses on them and first
class mail. very intellectual, smart people. a lot of jewish voters out there. they all read the paper, know what's going on, very political, and these guys have been serving together for a generation, and all of a sudden through the weirdnesses of the new law out there which says every election between the top two vote-getters, that's the way it is, and you have a real serious fight. here is john allen joining us. senior washington correspondent for politico. i think we're going to be looking at this clip for a while. this is a fun clip. nobody got hurt. >> it is a fun clip. everybody could at least get in the face of a member of congress for a minute. these two guys got to do it to each other. i actually spoke with congressman sherman a little while ago. he said that this is not something that he's proud of. it wasn't a great move on this part this sort of bear hug move. you know, the berman campaign is already using it to say he's got bad temperament. >> anger management? is that what we're talking here?
>> exactly. they basically said he's been voted a bad boss in the past, and they're arguing he doesn't have -- actually i spoke to brandon hall one ever his campaign aides, one of berman's, and he said brad sherman doesn't have -- this demonstrates he doesn't have the temperament to become a member of congress. this is something the berman guys are going to try to use. this has been a race that sherman has been in control of for a long time. we've seen some maybe desperate -- >> i thought sherman was ahead. >> sherman was ahead. the berman guys will try to use this against sherman. they've been doing things unorthodox. getting republican endorsements. >> mccain, lindsay graham. they're all in there helping the more hawkish guy. let's go to florida to an interesting race. allen west who makes all the noise about the communists. he's challenged by patrick murphy of oregon. a west campaign ad released just
a couple weeks ago attacks murphy for a 2003 arrest when the democrat was 19 years old. let's take a look at the ad. >> february 16th, 2003, ft. hood, texas. lieutenant colonel allen west had just received deployment orders and prepares his men to go to war. that night south beach, miami, patrick murphy is thrown out of a club for fighting, covered in alcohol and unable to stand. murphy then confronts and verbally assaults a police officer. patrick murphy was arrested and taken to jail. two men, a country in crisis. you decide. >> okay. anyway the palm beach post reports that the charge of intoxication was dropped and a false identification charge was dismissed. obviously he had a phony i.d. and he got served in south beach and drank too much. murphy is out with an ad of his own bringing up allen west's record in the military in a 2003 incident when west shot a detail near a detainee's head following an alleged assassination plot. let's watch this charge. >> lieutenant colonel allen west had just -- >> you need the facts about allen west in 2003.
west was criminally charged with violating the uniform code of military justice. found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault and relieved of his command. the final army report, west, quote, performed illegal acts, merited court-martial, faced 11 years in prison. allen west, he just isn't who he says he is. >> well, west, the congressman now, did not have to go before a court-martial or go to jail. he was fined $5,000 however and received full retirement. what do we make of these? are these the kind of wonderful little sugar plums that are thrown before the public three weeks before an election and that's what it is? >> yeah, that's exactly what it is, chris. if you're a political consultant and you have a bomb like this you can drop three or four weeks before the election, this is exactly what you do, and that's why we're seeing so many, and these ads that really cut through the clutter that really permeate. i think in this race the west ad is really strong because it defines his opponent as being too young to run for congress. but it's a competitive district.
obama won it by three points, bush won it by two points. our team gives west the slightest edge. >> john, real quick, what do you think of these races? these kind of charges? do they really change people's minds? >> i think they do. if they didn't, then we wouldn't see these nasty ads. you find the worst thing you can say about your opponent a few days before, you drop that on the vote irs and say are you sure you want to send these guys to washington? we see it every year because it works. >> if they went after everybody who drank too much in their teens, we might have some interesting political nerds -- >> i'll raise my hand on that. >> thank you. are you a nerd or one of the guys who lived that life. thank you, great reporting. up next, the year of the super pac and there's one group mixing celebrities and comedy to take on romney and the republicans. that's ahead, and that is "hardball," the place for politics. quit smoking with chan. when the doctor told me that i could smoke
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>> actually. >> actually that's like every kind of wrong. >> let's play two truths and a lie. your turn, mitt romney. >> you're doing it wrong. you have to tell a truth at some point. what about this? >> i think he should be free to come out a compassionless typhoon. >> oceans rising. we'll deal with that [ bleep ] when it happens. >> hey, mitt romney. wow. >> wow. we're right back here. anyway, these comedians you just saw there are calling it like it is when it comes to missed statements in this campaign as a superpac effort to cut through the noise of the election with humor and online videos. it's a collaboration between american bridge and the jewish council for educational research. you might remember them for the great schlepp in 2008, a viral video urging kids to get their grandparents to go out and vote for barack obama. with me now, two collaborators, jewish council for education research director mick moore, there he is. you're not looking very happy.
and the comedian and creator of "the daily show" lizz winstead. let's take a look before we talk about you guys. let's take a look at your superpac's first video with actress rosie perez on mitt romney and latinos. >> that, you probably know, was the government of michigan, head of a car company, but he was born in mexico. had he been born of mexican parents, i'd have a better shot at winning this. >> actually, mitt, that is so true. the advantage is obvious. think of all of our hispanic american presidents from jorge washington, to jorge bush. fortunately, for you, mitt, you were cursed with the hard knock life of growing up as the son of a wealthy governor and auto executive? but the truth is, the reason why
latinos aren't voting for you is because your policies suck. being latino wouldn't win you the election. but saying jokingly that you wish you were might actually lose it for you. >> whoa. that's tough stuff. mick, we haven't had you on before. liz has been here before. i want you first. that's kind of a hard-edged shot. that's a shot at romney. i mean, his parents weren't in mexico because they were -- they were there because of polygamy and the problems they were having living in the united states. that's all history. there it is. the idea -- well, anyway, not getting into all that weeds, but the point is what's the point of the joke, it wasn't funny to begin with? do you guys think you made it funny? >> yeah tharks o, that's our go. we partnered with american bridge which is really the premiere organization, superpac out there that finds these clips and, you know, you have a website like politifact which is really good at fact checking, but the way they present it isn't necessarily the most entertaining, so, we partnered
up with a bunch of amazing artists like rosie and they picked issues that they really cared about and that we thought were strategic and created videos which will start premiering on our sites in the coming days. you know, rosie's chosen issue that she felt was really important, and, you know, at the heart of it this really gets to the romney campaign's effort to use racial resentment as a tool to move voters. so this is -- the lie here is that it would be much easier, right, if he were latino. this is the kind of racial resentment when he says the poor are taken care of or goes after this lie about welfare reform. it's all one of a kind where he's using lies and exaggerations to churn up racial resentment in an effort to get votes. so we think this is a good way of putting a spot light on this issue, uses a little bit of humor to help it get more attention, but it's really, in fact, a serious issue. >> i'm trying to find ways to bring it up, but every time what you bring up what i call the
code whistles and dog whistles, example, welfare, get rid of the work requirement so as romney put it obama can feed his political base. the whole cliceiche is at work there. lizz, i did love the great schlepp. was it sarah silverman who got the people in south florida to vote for obama? they said, no, it was sarah palin, the mere fear of her as the vice president of the united states was enough to get the older jewish voters who were scared to death to vote republicans. your thoughts about how this is working. >> what's fun about using humor, i think where it becomes effective, this is just -- i've been doing political satire for almost 30 years now. this has been such an elevated time of people who are totally insane. and so i think with comics you can hit with some raw language that sometimes is the inner voice that people want to use, and the analogy i like to use, you know when you're nailing a
nail into the wall and whack your thumb really hard? it's a moment where you don't say shoot. it's a moment where you might use the swear because it feels really intense. and so i think the comics, they can resonate in a way i think other folks can't or regular ads can't. when you say, this is insane at this point, people, we're allowed to that in a way that i think broadcasters aren't, newsmen aren't, and it's been really effective. >> okay. somewhere cosmically the great lenny bruce is saying, good work, guys. keep it up. get rid of some this prejudice with a great sense of humor. thank you, mik moore. and lizz winstead. when we return, let me finish with a preview of tuesday's big debate. it's coming. it could be a big one. you're watching "hardball." ♪ that over time, having high cholesterol and any of these risk factors can put them at increased risk for plaque buildup in their arteries. so it's even more important
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let me finish tonight with a big debate coming up on tuesday. a real preview of coming attractions would tell you the power of the issues at stake. the huge issues to be decided in an hour and a half. there's this other thing. the personal. will the president come out tuesday night to charge up the differences between him and governor romney? will he paint those differences as vital? whether he commence another war in the middle east, whether we begin to kill not just obama care but begin killing medicare. doe